08 July 2013
In a previous post, we discussed what questions candidates should ask a hiring manager during the interview process to gauge whether the culture, practices, and attitude of a company would make it a great place to work. There are a number of things you can ask to determine whether or not the company would be a good fit for you, but sometimes, questions can only get you so far. What are some other ways to measure appropriateness for you? How can you tell if you’ll be happy working there? Here are five ways you can begin: Pay attention to how the hiring manager, and any senior management you might meet, acts. Just as you arrive to an interview or a first day professionally dressed and on your best behavior, a hiring manager or supervisor should do the same. A lot can be said about a company that promotes or hires high-level executives who don’t represent the business well. Likewise, a polished, friendly, and outgoing professional is a good indicator of a company that takes itself, and its employees, seriously. Observe their communication skills. Companies that operate on a professional level and respect their candidates make a point of communicating effectively, professionally, and respectfully. For example, emails with numerous grammatical errors and unprofessional phone conduct should both be red flags. Most good hiring managers understand that it can be discouraging for candidates who spent time and effort perfecting and customizing their resumes, cover letters, and portfolios down to the last comma to receive a sloppy response. Those who don’t may not have as much respect for their company and the candidate as you would hope, and that may reflect on the company that hired them. You should especially be wary of poor communication skills as you get further into the interviewing process, as you may very well find these faults in your future manager. Make sure they respect your time. Companies that respect their candidates and strive to maintain a great corporate image usually won’t insist that you drop everything and interview right away without first informing you about the details of a position. Be aware if you feel pressured. Should a hiring manager offer you an interview, the ideal way to do so is usually to ask when would be a convenient time for you, or to offer several days that might work for both you and the company. Ask for a tour. Is the office organized and running smoothly? Do its employees seem comfortable? In a company that’s enjoyable to work for, you will generally find that people seem happy, work in an organized fashion, and are friendly with one another. Another great sign is seeing open doors versus shut off rooms, as that can indicate a high level of communication and openness in an organization. When you need other opinions, check with sites like the Better Business Bureau and Glassdoor. These are great tools that allow for anonymous reviews and are generally accurate as to the honesty and integrity of the company’s mission as well as how they treat their employees. While the only certain way to determine whether or not a company is for you is to see for yourself, it is always helpful to see what others are saying, particularly those who have worked there in the past. You should always remember to trust your instinct when considering an offer. After the interviewing process, during which you hopefully asked the right questions to scope out the company, you should have a better idea of how the business operates than when you initially applied. If you don’t, trying the above methods could help. Of course, sometimes the only way to be certain is to take a job and try it—but, remember, you should steer clear of any job that you feel isn’t a good fit for you.